Sunday, 31 March 2013

IKEA Dresser Refinishing

Refinished IKEA Dresser by Cicely Ingleside

After I managed to refinish my own dresser without ruining it, I decided to tackle my husband's dresser. He wasn't so fond of the white colour I'd stained my own dresser, so I suggested this rich brown, which matched some of our other furniture.

This dresser started off as a sort of honey colour - similar to the colour of the boxes on the top. It was bought at Ikea ages ago.

If you are interested in trying this yourself, check out my previous post How to Refinish a Dresser. I followed the same steps with this dresser, except for the grit of sandpaper I used. The dresser that I had previously refinished in white had been solid wood. This dresser is wood veneer (I think) with a VERY STRONG Ikea finish.  So when I went to sand it, the 150 grit sandpaper did not make a dent in the veneer. I kept decreasing the sandpaper grit (meaning that it got progressively stronger and stronger), until I think I tried 40 grit, which pretty much tore into the dresser and made gouges. Slight overkill. 

So, I think it might have been best to use 80 grit sandpaper to start. I then went up to 150 to finish getting off the paint, and then to 220 to sand things smooth.
Refinished IKEA Dresser by Cicely Ingleside

My husband chose the new drawer pulls at the hardware store, and the result is a much more male-friendly refinished dresser!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

DIY Brocade and Ostrich Feather Skirt

By Cicely Ingleside - DIY Brocade & Ostrich Feather Skirt

I am very excited to post about this project: a silk brocade and ostrich feather skirt!  That's a mouthful, right? Here I'll tell you how I made it, in case you want to make your own version too.

This is how it came about. I saw this great DIY ostrich feather skirt on the blog "Meredith and Gwyneth, the New Yorkie".  I love how she made a longer, knee-length skirt, which was really different than the party-dress mini-skirts that I had seen before with ostrich feathers.

I decided I wanted to make one, and set out to find ostrich feather trim. With this kind of trim, the feathers are set on a ribbon, so it is easy to sew on. (I wouldn't want to try and glue individual feathers onto a skirt!) I figured these ostrich feathers were probably artificial and available at my local fabric store. Apparently not! Definitely no ostrich feathers for sale in my city.  And after extensive online scouring, I could not find any artificial ostrich feathers. 

My mother-in-law, who is an enthusiastic environmentalist, suggested trying to find a source in Canada, maybe from an ostrich farm, since that might be more environmentally responsible, rather than sourcing them from far away. But no luck.

So, eventually I bought some on eBay. I had planned on buying white feathers, but when I saw the lovely light mint green, I knew that is what I wanted. I kept thinking what a gorgeous clutch these would make too. Check out this photo of a Kate Spade clutch I have since found:

But the problem was that to get enough length to do two layers all around a long skirt would have cost a bundle. So, I decided to buy about half of what I would need and set it on a brocade skirt in layers. 

Check out these inspiration photos which show ostrich feathers used as an accent, and in different ways on skirts:

1. Antonio Marras, 2. Ralph Lauren, 3. Massimo Dutti (Sources according to Pinterest - so I don't guarantee reliablity!)

I also figured that placing the feathers in layers would be better for someone of my shape - a bit heavier in the waist (ahem!). If I had made a really thick pad of feathers from the waist down, I think I might look like a chicken. (Or I guess an ostrich?!) At least this strategy would elongate things and let me avoid padding my hips too much.

By Cicely Ingleside - DIY Brocade & Ostrich Feather Skirt

I ordered this gorgeous silk brocade fabric from the store Everything Indian on Etsy. This photo does not do it justice. It is a heavy silk, and changes colour in the light. Lovely!

I made the skirt using the Burda Style Pattern 7124, view B, no lining and no extra high waist option. It looked great as a skirt on its own and I was tempted to keep it like that.  I recently saw that J. Crew has got a red and green brocade pencil skirt this season, which is somewhat similar:

But then I thought what would I do with the ostrich feathers?  So I decided to keep pursuing the plan.Then it was time to add the feathers. While my inspiration blogger Meredith had glued hers on, I decided to sew on the feathers. I started with the bottom row, and pinned them on at an even distance from the hem. While Meredith hung hers up while working on it, I just put the skirt on an ironing board to do the pinning.

 I then simply sewed a straight line, pulling out the pins as I went. Then I added a second layer of feathers, placing the ribbon as close as possible above the first ribbon. I did another set of two layers in the middle of the skirt, and a single layer at the top of the skirt, because I ran out of feathers! In this shot you can see how it is a little thinner at the top. (You can see the fabric's beautiful shininess a little better here too!)

By Cicely Ingleside - DIY Brocade & Ostrich Feather Skirt

The only trouble I had was in sewing the second line of the middle layer on - I kind of had so many feathers piled on one side and skirt piled on the other, it was hard to get the needle at the right place.

Also, if you decide to try this, note that the feathers must be glued to the inside of their ribbon, and as a result, any pins you use, as well as the sewing needle, will get very sticky.

And that's all it took! Call me crazy, but I wore it to work. I figure why have nice clothes if you never wear them? I was complimented by a random woman I walked past, which was great!  I only lost maybe one feather all day. I actually think that if I ever get tired of the skirt, it would probably be possible to remove the feathers and re-use them on something else - make that pretty clutch perhaps?

By Cicely Ingleside - DIY Brocade & Ostrich Feather Skirt

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Copycat Dresses - Bubble Dress & Moose Dress

Copycat dresses by Cicely Ingleside

When I first started reading blogs a few months ago, I saw the great dresses made by StraightGrain. She made a cute Deer dress and Bubble Dress, and I so loved the fabric and the dress styles (whose cuteness was increased by her cute daughter) that I thought I would try and make some too.

Copycat Moose Dress by Cicely Ingleside

This is the first one I made. I used the Geranium dress pattern by Made by Rae, and I used fabric bought on Etsy at Big Sky Fabric Shop. It has moose on it, which is suitable because we live in Newfoundland which has an over-population of moose. My daughter was unimpressed by the moose motif until I pointed out that there were some baby moose pictured with the adult moose. That sold her on it.

Copycat dresses by Cicely Ingleside
Jumping on the bed in the first dress.

I added yellow ricrac and buttons at the back. (The ricrac was kind of to cover up the fact that I accidentally cut the pattern for the "top" version, then realised what I did and added on an extra piece to make it into the dress. I know I really shouldn't point these things out.)

Copycat dresses by Cicely Ingleside

Coincidentally, the day after I finished this, another blogger Skirt as Top, published a very similar dress in homage to the same original StraightGrain dress - and also used yellow buttons.  So, obviously I was not the only one inspired!  (I swear I did this sewing beforehand - you can even see my comments at the bottom of the post!)

Copycat dresses by Cicely Ingleside

The other dress of StraightGrain's that I admired was her Bubbly Little Bubble Dress - as much for the fabric as for the dress style.  I searched for it online and found a version of the fabric in purple, which is perfect because purple is my daughter's favourite colour.  The fabric is called Echino Chelsea by Etsuko Furuya for Kokka. I bought it on Etsy from Imagine Fabric.

It was so nice to work with. It's "double gauze" cotton - and I had no idea what that was before this. But it is just what is says - two layers of gauzy cotton. So lovely. I totally want to make myself something with double gauze cotton now.

Copycat dresses by Cicely Ingleside

I used the bubble dress pattern StraightGrain had hand-drawn and posted on her site - I think she's now redoing it in a computer generated version.  Here's a photo of my daughter consenting to be photographed - as long as I didn't brush her hair and let her pose by jumping all over her bed!

Copycat dresses by Cicely Ingleside
Caught mid-jump in the bubble dress. I love this photo.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Summer of No Pants - Skirt and Dress Sewing and Wearing Challenge

Hi reader(s?),

I am very excited to announce that I am going to be contributing a post to the blog series Summer of No Pants 2013!  This is a challenge to sew and wear skirts and dresses to celebrate spring and summer. 

The SONP is going to be happening May 27 - June 21st. The challenge is coordinated and hosted by Marigold of the fun blog Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!

So click here to read her post about the challenge, and which is inviting you to sign up and get updates about it!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Boy's Stag Beetle Shirt

Stag Beetle Shirt by Cicely Ingleside

Bloggers Made by Rae and Made have a series called Celebrate the Boy where they issue a call for people to share their sewing for boys. This is a great idea, because it is so much harder to come up with cute things for boys. So I thought I would use this as motivation to make something for my son.

Stag Beetle Shirt by Cicely Ingleside
There are button tabs to hold the sleeves up.

I love pattern and it is so much easier to use pattern on girls' clothes - like on dresses and skirts. Often for boys, pattern is only easy on pajamas and shorts. And in the Canadian climate, shorts can only be used for a short time.

 I had bought this cute Stag Beetle fabric by Echino on Etsy with my son in mind. It seemed a shame to just use the fabric for lining or highlighting. So I decided to use it for the main item, and tone it down by using a plain fabric for pockets and collar. I cut up an old shirt of my husband's for the blue parts!

I used the pattern Prepster Pullover from Blank Slate Patterns by blogger Melly Sews. This had a lot more intricate details than I had been used to. I learned what a "placket" is, and did lots of button holes. (Did you know what a placket is?  I had been pretty proud of knowing what a "yoke" is before.)

Stag Beetle Shirt by Cicely Ingleside
So cute!  Ready to join the Rat Pack with that hat on.

Now I have new skills!  And some wounds from poking myself with pins. Totally worth it though. He's so cute in this.

I also practiced my Photoshop-ing by making the background black and white in this last photo. Looks kinda cool. Mostly to draw attention away from the messy room. Ooops, now I pointed that out.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Star Wars Ts for Kids (and Husbands)

Star Wars Ts by Cicely Ingleside

Our house is currently gripped by Star Wars mania. So I thought I would share some Star Wars themed t-shirts I made for Christmas. I used the same method I described in my post about  how to do silhouette T-shirt painting.

This R2D2 t-shirt was made for my son. I started off just painting the silhouette of R2D2 in white, and thought I would leave it at that. But my husband thought it would look better with more detail, and given that he likes Star Wars, was willing to make this happen himself by painting the blue and black detail. He painted while looking at these stencils as a model. I give him credit - it looks great and it is currently my son's favorite T-shirt.

Star Wars Ts by Cicely Ingleside
Loving his R2D2 shirt

My husband and I had a deal to limit our presents to each other for Christmas to $50, and so I also painted him some Star Wars Ts. 
Star Wars Ts by Cicely Ingleside

My husband wore one of these to a kid's birthday party when he took our son, and one of the other Dads asked him where he got it!

By Cicely Ingleside

At the time, my daughter didn't like Star Wars, and so I made her this Tinkerbell T. Now, however, she's caught the Star Wars fever so I'll have to do one for her!

Friday, 8 March 2013

How To Refinish a Dresser

How to Refinish a Dresser by Cicely Ingleside
My refinished dresser!

This dresser was my first real furniture purchase, and I bought it at least 10 or 12 years ago. It was a kind of honey colour, and became pretty much outdated. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were talking about maybe buying a new bedroom set, but frankly, that's expensive and wasn't a priority. So, I thought, maybe I should try repainting or restaining the old furniture.

Now, to be clear, I knew n-o-t-h-i-n-g about refinishing furniture. I barely knew what sandpaper was for. But yay, the internet!  Tells you all you need to know (generally). And so did the woman at the hardware store.

My husband was very apprehensive about a DIY approach to our furniture. I pointed out that we were thinking about getting rid of the furniture anyway, so if I ruined it, we were no worse off.

By Cicely Ingleside

I didn't take a Before picture, but you can kind of see the old colour of the dresser in this shot from when our last house was on the market. It's the one in the right hand corner, under the framed pictures on the wall.

I kept one of the old knobs, which shows its former colour, and here it is on top of the refinished dresser.

How to Refinish a Dresser by Cicely Ingleside

So, I am very happy with the results. And if I can do it, anyone else can, so here is a brief how-to:


Mask so you don't inhale the sawdust!
Stain. I used Saman Water-Based stain.
Tack cloth
Brush for the varnish

1. Sand it

I got a $25 circular sander and this is a small investment for a big benefit. Or borrow or rent a sander. But even the inexpensive one I have is easy to use.

The grit of sandpaper you will need depends on your surface. The lower the number, the stronger the sandpaper. For this project, I used 150 grit sandpaper to take off the old stain, and 240 to smooth things over.

So, I used the 150 grit sandpaper to sand off the old stain. This takes some patience, but is also satisfying when you get going. It is easier to do on the flat surfaces. You'll notice I really sanded off the old stain well on the flat top, but was a little less patient with the drawers, and so some of the old stain is still showing through. I kind of like the variegation it gives though.

When done with the initial sandpaper, use the tack cloth to clean off the little sawdust bits and smooth things down. Finish by sanding again with the 240 to smooth things, and then use the tack cloth again.

By the way, do the sanding outside or in a garage. I live on the Canadian east coast where it is either cold or rainy most of the time, so I tried to sand in the basement once - not a good idea!  There was a sawdust coating everywhere.

2. Stain it

Put on your gloves, and cut some cheesecloth, then use it to apply the stain. I used a white stain. Make sure to spread it around as soon as you apply it. Apply two or three coats, letting dry in between according to the instructions on your bottle.

3. Varnish it

Once the stain is dry, apply varnish with a brush. The nice woman at the hardware store advised me to do two coats of varnish, and three coats on the places which will get the most use, like the top.

Let dry and you're done!

I replaced the dresser drawer knobs with some new ones I bought at Anthropologie (when I was in a city with an Anthropologie). Here's another pic for good measure!

How to Refinish a Dresser by Cicely Ingleside

I think I won my husband over too. He let me refinish his dresser as well (in a more masculine colour - I'll post at another time), and put a new sander in my stocking at Christmas. That's an endorsement if I ever had one!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Amazing Spider Suits

Spider Suits By CicelyIngleside

A couple of weeks ago, my son asked me where his old Spider-Man pajamas were. We had bought them a couple of years ago and they came with this funny headcovering - I don't know what to call it but the closest word I can use to describe it is a Spider-Man balaclava. He still had this Spider-balaclava in his drawer, and suddenly wanted the old pajamas which I had put away in a box in the basement.

So I thought I would test my newfound sewing skills and try and sew him some new ones. And of course I had to make "Spider-Girl" pajamas for my daughter too. Even though N, my son, kept telling me all about how Spider-Girl's outfit is technically different from Spider-Man's, I decided I wasn't going to make this all TOO complicated; so their outfits are the same!

Spider Suits By CicelyIngleside
Spider-Girl, setting out to fight crime.
I took N to the sewing store and he picked out some fabric. I think these pajamas would have been great in cotton flannel, but they were out of red flannel. Bizarrely, the store was out of almost all red fabric of any kind. I think this is because it was after Valentine's day and people must've bought out the red.

Spider Suits By CicelyIngleside
Action shot!  Spider-Man caught mid-jump.
I found this impressive tutorial online and followed it: The Best Ever Spider Man Costume at Shannon Makes Stuff . Instead of using a pattern, it calls for tracing some clothes that currently fit and using that to cut the fabric for the costume. I'm glad I tried this, but I think that method is a little advanced for me at this point.... I need something more precise like a pattern with less room for improvisation!

Kudos to my husband who volunteered to draw the web lines on the red fabric. I can usually rope him in to do stuff if it is super-hero related. I thought about making a stencil to facilitate drawing the lines, but it would probably have taken more work to make the stencil than just to use a fabric marker to draw them on.

Spider Suits By CicelyIngleside

Now N wants me to make him a Spideman mask and some web slingers, and possibly another balaclava-deal to go with it.  Ay yai yai.....! I'm glad he likes it though! It's nice to see the kids wearing something I made them, and that they know is made specially for them.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Matryoshka Doll Dress

By Cicely Ingleside
Look closely and you can see the stuffed doll sitting at the top of the pocket!

My daughter loves Matryoshka dolls - Russian nesting dolls; she likes taking them apart one from the other. She always takes apart a decorative one I have (and loses the littlest dolls, which I find weeks later in weird spots).  I finally bought her some plastic kid play ones for Christmas. And there are so many cute fabrics out there now with the Matryoshka doll theme.

And so when I saw a picture of a dress at the beautiful kids' clothes site The Measure with a Matryoshka doll living in a house pocket, I was inspired to sew my first dress for my daughter.  Now I feel a bit bad copying this great idea, but I will add a plug for The Measure's clothes - they are great, and I bought my daughter a dress from there too, which she loves.

I already had bought this House fabric used for the pocket from IKEA, and I ordered the Matryoshka doll fabric from Etsy. For the sleeves and bottom, I used an old skirt of mine which I cut up - it was the best match I could find. I also bought a downloadable pattern on Etsy:  the Peasant Dress from Little Lizard King.

By Cicely Ingleside
Then I improvised and sewed a long piece of ric-rac where the pocket would go, and sewed the pocket around it and added trim. I sewed together one of the dolls and stuffed it, then put a button on top.  I added some fabric to the end of the ric-rac line, and made a button hole. That way, the doll can button on and off so she doesn't have to go through the wash each time.

I think this is my daughter's favorite dress. I think she especially likes having a little doll living in the pocket.  It makes me tempted to add pockets and softies to all of her clothes.

By Cicely Ingleside

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